Distinctions Between Emotion and Feelings
BURL: OK, next, what is the difference between a feeling and an emotion? I submit it is much akin to that between color and ‘particular colors.’ As I recently explained using a quote from LCK, a physical feeling has a datum (what it is) and a subjective form (HOW it is), and I stated that emotion is the subjective form of a feeling. I believe KB is confused when saying things like “emotion evolves into feeling.
KB: I think we are using emotion and feelings in two different ways, and I think this is because I’m seeing emotion as the operating system of a networked-intelligence without any thoughts whatsoever being ascribed to the nature of emotion and feelings. I’m treating them solely as energy as I shall attempt to explain below.
I do think feelings can be likened to colors, especially in regards to an electromagnetic wave form, but emotion exists on a far deeper plane, which is why I prefer to say emotion is like gravity, a virtual force of attraction, a field wherein all objects of mass are responsive to all other objects of mass, whereas feelings are more sophisticated (from our point of view) as are the wave functions of the electromagnetic variety such as light. Emotion evolves into a feeling as consciousness’ resolution of the unified field problem. What we perceive of as time; is consciousness’ connection to all the physical energies. In other words, consciousness apprehends how all things are connected even though we don’t.
Feelings (which inform organisms how to evolve) evolve from emotion just as animals evolve from emotion because I see emotion operating on a plane far deeper than our sense of awareness. For example, I go to the store to buy a variety of things and I look at the money I spend, the goods I receive as well as the work I perform in terms of my own particular frame of reference. But as a consumer I’m just one charged particle of the economy and in a way unbeknownst to me, my economic activity contributes quantitatively to such things far beyond my awareness, such as the trade deficit between American and China and the exchange rate between Iceland and Lithuania. All this deep “network” information is embedded in every transaction and exchange of goods and services that I am part of, and yet it exists far below the awareness of any participant in the economy and ends up affecting me so indirectly I (and apparently most economists) can never connect the dots. A feeling is easier to be aware of, but emotion as its organizing principle is far more subtle. If I’m Xenophobic, I have no idea I’m attracted to foreigners. I think I hate them and then I think of all kinds of reasons why my hatred is justified so that I can mitigate my fear which is based on a layer of unresolved emotion held deeper still.
In my mind emotion is a medium that physiology and neurology evolves from so that all organisms are attracted to each other and in order to implement the principle of conductivity so that no matter what they do it will end up in service to the network. In other words, if information only arises from the network, it's not possible for any organism to generate information that is in contravention to the network. Nature doesn’t leave evolution up to individuals to decide on their own any more than an economy lets consumers print their own money and so emotion can’t be understood as a self-contained phenomenon in isolation from the whole of the network and that arrives at meaning by virtue of what it comes to mean to any given participant. I'm arguing that organisms didn’t evolve to have emotion anymore than they evolved to have gravity. Organisms evolved in response to emotion just as they evolved in response to gravity. Emotion enforces a thermodynamics on every individual, just like an economy puts everyone in debt just by being present in it, and so they must contribute or else, and so emotion works on us in ways far deeper than we can be aware since it’s the principle on which our very viscera is founded.
Emotion has three phases that serve as the logic to the network, Emotion - > Unresolved Emotion - > Resolved Emotion and feelings evolve from this medium to become the message, i.e. how to resolve unresolved emotion by networking with others.
One problem with the color wheel analogy, at least as far as I’ve seen it represented, is that there’s no place for sexuality or personality. Lust is on the same wavelength as love (as in more intense-and yet incongruently at the same time more shallow) but then aggression doesn’t fit in with sexuality on that same color wavelength. We can't get away from the linear systems of relationships.
The other problem with current ways of looking at emotion is that there’s actually no such thing as emotion, it doesn’t exist as something that can be measured in isolation from the whole body/mind as it’s the confluence of physical and nerve energies into a state of tension, the release from which is emotion, so it’s not actually present as anything tangible. We have to take the whole of the organism to understand the presence of emotion. This is why (according to Jerome Kagan: “What Is Emotion?” his answer to his title being: no one knows) no philosophy, psychology, neurology has a whole model for emotion, especially one that can accommodate animals as well as humans, sexuality, animal behavior/learning, etc.
QUOTE: “William James, in the article 'What is an Emotion?' (Mind, 9, 1884: 188-205), argued that emotional experience is largely due to the experience of bodily changes. The Danish psychologist Carl Lange also proposed a similar theory at around the same time, so this position is known as the James-Lange theory. This theory and its derivatives state that a changed situation leads to a changed bodily state. As James says 'the perception of bodily changes as they occur IS the emotion.'
KB: I agree that emotion on the level of the individual is affiliated with bodily changes, but this is indicative of how change is emotionally ionizing the organism in a network coherent way, i.e. formatting the emotional battery. So in my view perceptions don’t arise from a purely subjective interpretation of what’s transpiring because there is always a heavy network agenda freighted with every interaction. If emotion is how we “explain and organize our actions,” then it seems James is meaning that it’s a mental phenomenon and then there are two possibilities which I could not concur with: either, animals don’t have emotion, or they think and thus are capable of emotion.
“James further claims that 'we feel sad because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and neither we cry, strike, nor tremble because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as the case may be.”
BURL: This theory is supported by experiments in which by manipulating the bodily state, a desired emotion is induced. Such experiments also have therapeutic implications (e.g. in laughter therapy, dance therapy). The James-Lange theory is often misunderstood because it seems counter-intuitive. Most people believe that emotions give rise to emotion-specific actions: i.e. "I'm crying because I'm sad," or "I ran away because I was scared." The James-Lange theory, conversely, asserts that first we react to a situation (running away and crying happen before the emotion), and then we interpret our actions into an emotional response. In this way, emotions serve to explain and organize our own actions to us.”
KB: We’re arriving I think at some good points of distinction. So in my view of emotion as energy that works as a “force” of attraction, I’m not attaching any thought to the pure emotion or to a true feeling. Also, I’m suggesting that the phenomenon of perception is involuntarily and subconsciously shaded by the emotional battery well before the thought process (in humans) can get going. As a matter of fact, by the time the “charge” reaches the brain, the real show is over. Something is happening in a discrete patterned way well before the higher processes of the nervous system has anything to deal with. First, the body/mind is displaced by change and there is an involuntary rising of the degree of tension effected upon the individual. If a preyful aspect can be sensed, then the individual senses a release from tension and this is what we perceive of as a “current” of emotion. If a predatory aspect is sensed, then there is a gap in consciousness, this disconnect triggers a fear and accesses a physical memory. Either way, the animal will feel attracted to the source of change, but already its perceptions have been organized in service to the network.
If the individual can still sense the preyful aspect through the influence of physical memory, then a feeling will evolve in order to make contact or connect with this stimulus. The stronger the arousal through hunger (sensing preyful aspect) circuitry then the stronger the feeling and more fully it can manifest as a pure force of attraction (recapitulating the underlying emotion) that simultaneously can facilitate flipping of polarity to fit with object of attraction or magnetic deflection of energy of attraction to calm the object of attraction. If at any point during the experience there’s more energy in the system than the emotional capacity of that individual can handle (and here in regards to carrying capacity is where a feeling of being connected to the network comes in to shape the nature of the perception) then ingrained habits or instincts take over, and even this can happen well before thoughts can make sense of what’s going on, and in this latter case a feeling does not even evolve into being.
In regards to crying, in my model this happens because there’s more energy going through the system than the individual can handle, which is why crying can occur throughout all kinds of states, fear, joy, laughter, pain, sadness. The crying individual is becoming more prey-like, melting the boundary between its form and others, its persona and personality are dissolving; they are moving their basic physical essence, becoming conductive and thereby attracting the emotion of others. People seeing someone crying concentrate on the vulnerability of such an individual (preyful) and this helps them get past the predatory aspect of that person and they divine a new being with whom they can attune; they feel capable of going up and connecting. When dogs smell each others saliva and tear ducts they too get past the boundary erected by the central nervous system as well as physical memories of resistance they are carrying.
Striking out (breaking one’s fall due to the violence of the emotional collapse) or trembling (radiating a lot of energy) are also overloads of the emotional capacity and a true feeling hasn’t been able to evolve into existence in order to channel this energy. Notice how when a football player gets hit on the opening kickoff of a game their nervousness (and perhaps even trembling) immediately dissipates. By being struck they are “back” in their body and their mental perception is wiped clean so that a feeling can begin to evolve. Their will, i.e. a faith in a feeling, can take over.
Since the Big-Brain can harbor mental memories of emotion, and because it is the only agency that can execute physical action, therefore everything about the emotional process is mirrored in nerve function, but that doesn’t mean it is therefore the source of emotion or what renders the deepest sense of meaning. Criminals and psychopaths are able to mimic emotion because they have the math of it in their brains (as do insects, bacterium, and viruses in their manner of organization) and they are able to convince others of the validity of their state, but it’s just the mental mechanics, they aren’t feeling a thing. So I can see how manipulating body states can induce these mental memories of emotion as can an electrical stimulation of some ganglion or brain structure. But other than therapeutic approaches that are designed to keep someone rooted in their body and cultivate their will, I believe these prove to be artificial and short term, like taking a drug to get high and artificially inducing the feeling of weightlessness, but out of context with the E->UE->RE template that must be serviced over the long haul, and therefore drugs prove transitory and self-destructive because it’s not part of a natural, organic process by which true feelings evolve. It’s akin to electrically stimulating a muscle and getting it to react as if by conscious direction, but it’s just an artificial stimulation that isn’t part of a coherent pattern of movement. In the dog world we see owners doing all this technically correct learning theory but it’s out of context of group purpose and the puppys emotional circuits are fried: too much stimulation without grounding.
Also, because emotion is the operating system of consciousness, even thoughts, no matter what they are, always contribute to the force of attraction in the system. On the deepest level of emotion, from the network’s point of view; it doesn’t matter how the individual perceives or interprets the experience. From the network’s point of view, the fundamental question, and this is the one that the individual’s very physiology and neurology is organized around, is: was more unresolved emotion acquired, or was unresolved emotion resolved? Other than this it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things what the individual does with this energy because no matter what happens the individual has been energized and one way or another, sooner or later, maybe not even in his lifetime; it will evolve into a feeling. Humans may hate but that’s merely an incredibly intense form of attraction that has overwhelmed the emotional capacity of the individual thus charged, however from the networks’ point of view: nevertheless there’s more energy (force) available to the system and when it becomes aligned in a more complex manner it will then be able to accommodate the movement of that energy and unresolved emotion will be resolved.
And then there’s another very important consideration here to return to James famous example of being frightened by a bear. Because unresolved emotion potentiates the higher centers of the nervous system, (which means that how we respond to how unresolved emotion makes us feel determines how we construct our network) where we are in the emotional process, in other words where our feelings plug us into our network, another way of saying this is where we feel we are on the circle, are we at the prey or at the predator polarity, predetermines how we will perceive the bear and interpret the experience and this is happening well before any thoughts can be thought. So in my model, a person having been scared by a bear is nevertheless first and foremost energized and thereby attracted to the bear, but in this case, with a force that is more powerful than their capacity can handle and so they run (attraction collapsed into fear). If they cry their tears are an involuntary “appeal” so to speak to the mercy of the bear’s predatory aspect. (The bear as a “being” triggers a physical memory, most likely of an intimidating father figure.) Now on the other hand, to an unarmed Indian Warrior counting coup, because of where he feels connected to his circle, his tribe, he feels an arousal in his attraction to the bear that is stronger than his balance/fear of falling and so he acts like predator going toward the bear as he tries to touch it. By acting like a predator, he can reflect the energy of attraction the bear is projecting at him, right back to bear and this might be more than the bear can handle and so we observe flipping of polarity between them happily increasing the odds of said warrior returning to his people as a hero, with bear alive as sacred totem.
If “emotion is the subjective form of physical feelings;” then this seems to me to be in contravention to the infectious nature of emotion that is such an overwhelming feature of emotion. For example, someone throws up because they have either eaten something noxious or have just learned something violently noxious to their well being, that’s their subjective perception of their bodily changes. Yet others, observing them, and who have no such subjective experience of an internal discomfort be it physical or psychic, nevertheless feel an irresistible urge to vomit. This is because by default as highly social beings they have projected their e-cogs into that individual and so when energy moves in that individual, they feel a corresponding virtual movement within their own bodies that predetermines what they will perceive; their body will change in conformance to how the network has constructed its constituents and this predetermines their subjective experience.
Similarly, we can also note that there are musical chords of universal emotional content; or a universal mathematical expression of symmetry that defines the emotional attraction to beauty in every race and society (a sense of beauty equals release from the specific kind of unresolved emotion that is caused by the instinctual aspect of the human intellect) and again these operate beneath the level of subjective interpretation. So there is a universal principle of emotional conductivity implemented through the nature of every organisms emotional make-up and which determines that all change that is experienced will become part of consciousness as a monolithic force of attraction. Feelings are the auto-tuning/feedback dynamic by which all the elements of the network will end up self-organizing so that this force will ultimately be harnessed to create new energy.